Re: Copyright & the net: more thoughts

Subject: Re: Copyright & the net: more thoughts
From: Vicki Rosenzweig <murphy!acmcr!vr -at- UUNET -dot- UU -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 1994 09:32:19 EDT

I'm an editor, and I've been known to give editorial services
away to strangers over the net. Part of what's going on, I
think, with me, with the advice on fruit trimming, and numerous
other examples, is that people like explaining what they know
to an interested audience, and enjoy the chance to do what we're
good at. (Recently, I offered to edit something for a stranger,
during a period at work when I was getting to do almost no
editing, because of the press of other work--the other work was
necessary, and I was willing to do it, but I far prefer editing.)

It may also be necessary to draw some distinctions here. There
is, I think, a fairly obvious difference between retransmitting
something that wasn't written for the net and is known to have
commercial value (like a column by a syndicated humorist whose
books regularly make the best-seller lists) and retransmitting
something written for a net mailing list. Beyond that, there;s
the awkward fact that we write this stuff, and then treat it as
a conversation. These aren't essays we're posting, for the most
part--they're replies to each other. I have no expectations of
privacy for anything on this list, of course, but I would feel
ill-treated if I discovered, say, that a lurker had been patiently
saving everything we'd all posted since January, and gotten a
nice check for reprinting it in book form. (I'd be less upset
if a regular poster did so, I think.) It might be worth trying
to figure out what the law should be, and pushing for that, rather
than analyzing how laws written for other media and situations
can be stretched. (Does anyone know if there are _any_ copyright
laws applying to conversation that is _not_ transmitted?)


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